Maybe you need to hear this, too

In the Uttaratantra by Maitreya, it is said that our recognizing our buddha potential is like a man living in poverty discovering that buried beneath his home is a priceless treasure. It is like discovering a jewel buried in the mud. If our buddha potential is like a golden statue wrapped in filthy rags, the golden image can never be tarnished by the rags–it is merely obscured by them. When I was younger and my understanding of Buddhism was relatively poor, the images that came from this text had a profound effect on me. They gave me an intuitive sense of my intrinsic value in a way that I had never felt previously. The influence of religion in my early years had left me with the belief that I was essentially a sinner and that at the root of my being was an innate badness that I had to overcome. It left me fundamentally unable to trust myself because to let go would be to open up my innate badness. When I met my Tibetan teachers and they spoke of my buddha nature, I felt a huge sense of relief. Perhaps I was not so bad after all, and perhaps when I allowed myself to relax a little and open up, I would find my true nature as something whole and wonderful rather than something to be feared and suppressed.

–from The Courage to Feel: Buddhist Practices for Opening to Others by Rob Preece, published by Snow Lion Publications

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About padmarosa

K.S. Zangmo is the Dharma name of a writer, singer, library worker, Adept of the New Hermetics, practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, keeper of two cockatiels, wife, and stepmother, all of whom are the same person.
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3 Responses to Maybe you need to hear this, too

  1. contoveros says:

    Ah, c’mon!

    I loved this passage. But what effect did (does) it have on you?

    I will always be a Christian. But today, I tell all I am a “Zen Christian,” one who was baptized Catholic, but who has chosen to follow my Buddha nature, bringing both the West and East together inside of me. I think there even may be room for some mystical Judiasm as well as beautiful Sumi (Islamic) poetry, and who knows what else.

    • padmarosa says:

      What effect does it have on me?

      It reminds me that my momentary moods, my feeling states of depression, discouragement, or despair, are not the truth about me, or about reality. I have enormous potential, and so you do, so does everyone I encounter, no matter how much trouble they may seem to cause me. And the task ahead of us is not so much to transform or be transformed into something we’re not, as to uncover and polish up what we already are.

      I will always be an Anglican. But there are strains in Christianity that can deepen my despair, that can poison the joyous messages of the Incarnation and of theologians like Julian of Norwich. The view of Buddhism can clear the mirror of stains like “original sin”.

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